The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

Swim Instructor In-Service Training Ideas

Do you find that after training your swim school staff and getting into your swim lessons that you or your instructors start having new questions on how or what to do in different situations?  

Do you even notice that certain techniques and strategies that were addressed in the original swim instructor training are still lacking by new instructors?

We do!  So at Swim Lessons University, we decided that the perfect solution to address these problems would be to hold an In-Service Staff Training session!  AND NOW–without traveling one mile—YOU AND YOUR STAFF can be a part of our amazing session!

In this brand new video—SLU Executive Director Jim Reiser answers 25 EXCELLENT QUESTIONS from his local staff, and he provides 25 simple and practical techniques to help every instructor improve their classes!

Here is a Small Sampling of the 25 Questions:

  1. How do I correct parents in my Parent & Toddler classes without appearing confrontational?
  2. How do I put the parent at ease about taking an infant or toddler underwater?
  3. What do you do in situations where you have a child who refuses to get in the water?
  4. What do you say to a parent who sends their child to the pool with goggles and they aren’t even putting their face in the water yet?
  5. Do you ever tell kids to close their mouth when breath holding?
  6. Do you let kids Doggie Paddle if they aren’t putting their face in the water?
  7. Do you have any tips on how to help students pick up the Freestyle Side Breathing easier?
  8. How do you get a child to flex both feet in breaststroke?

Again, these are just some examples of the 25 common questions asked by SLU swimming instructors….  As always, you will find this In-Service Swim Instructor Training Video to be information-packed, high energy and fast paced. You and your staff will be new and improved in 90 minutes or less–guaranteed!

Here is a 12-minute highlight video of the In-Service Training Poolside Seminar:

Order your copy today at

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University certification program and curriculum, make sure to visit us at  We have training and certification programs designed for both private instructors as well as organizations like YMCAs, Recreation Departments, Athletic Clubs, and more.

The Swim Lessons University Instructor certification is an internationally recognized alternative to the Red Cross WSI.  AND when you utilize SLU, instructors can SPECIALIZE to teach specific classes and age groups OR they  can certify to teach them all!  Best of all, when you choose Swim Lessons University you can do all your training at your own facility or in the comfort of your own home, at your pace, and at a fraction of the cost!

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).



, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
September 14, 2016 at 10:38 pm Comments (0)

Flotation Devices for Swimming Lessons

Thank you, Coach P.D., from Australia, for your great questions regarding flotation devices for swimming lessons.  You asked about the one we are currently using at Swim Lessons University, the SwimWays Power Swimr, in particular.  Here are your questions, my thoughts, observations, and comments:

Dear Swim Professor:

The reason I write is (1) about the ‘POWER SWIMR’s’ that I’ve seen you use (I’ve watched some your DVD’s).  The training I underwent in Australia doesn’t recommend flotation devices at all because they think kids get dependent on it.  However, I’ve checked out how you use this Power Swimr and it appears to be an excellent tool.

Will you tell me a bit more about it and your experience with it?

Allow me first to say that children have been learning to swim for centuries, so there is more than one way to teach a child to swim. As long as the environment is safe and child-centered, to me, that is what is most important.  Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion.  I just want learning to swim to be a happy enjoyable experience.

With that said, however, personally I seek perfection.  I am always looking for a better way, and there are better and more efficient ways to teach children to swim, in my opinion.  Utilizing a “progressive flotation device,” in particular, is one of those techniques that provide you with an edge.

I have been using this particular device since 1998, and we have had enormous success.   The dependency issue is a bad argument.  My first hand experience, having taught children to swim both with and without floatation devices, is that by using believe a progressive buoyancy device, such as the “Power Swimr” does just the opposite–it encourages “independence.”

On the other hand, when a swimming instructor, or parent, is holding/ physically supporting a child to allow him to move through the water, that promotes dependency more than anything.   In addition, while it is not an approved “life jacket,” it also allows for a “safer environment.”  It only takes seconds for a non-swimmer to find himself submerged underwater.  How would that look in a swimming lesson?

Lastly, because the multiple flotation pads are removable, as the child gets stronger in the water, you can gradually give him less “support/flotation” until he/she is swimming on independently.  It’s a very natural progression, and the device allows for “real practice time” time before the child can swim.  As a swimming instructor, you have now afforded the beginner with invaluable repetition that is just like the “real thing” without him/her being dependent on you.

Practice time is the “mother of learning skills.”   A non-swimmer without flotation, on the other hand, gets very limited practice time, not to mention the practice time without a flotation device would be far from natural because the instructor is supporting them.

What are things I have to keep in mind while using it?

Here are some bullet points of pointers that I train my staff to keep in mind:

  • Give the learner enough buoyancy that he can successfully swim the allocated distance with confidence in a near horizontal position in the water.
  • Once the child’s skills have progressed to the point that swimming that allocated distance is comfortable and fairly easy (say 15-20 feet for 3-5 year old), then remove one (1) buoyancy pad to make it a little more challenging without compromising safety or even technique.

***SIDE NOTE: Another tremendous advantage of the flotation device is the child can learn to swim in a horizontal position from the start, reinforcing good flutter kick fundamentals.   What happens when a child doesn’t have any flotation or not enough?  The learner starts getting diagonal or even vertical encouraging a bicycle kick, thus developing bad flutter/freestyle kick habits.

  • Continue to think “progression.”  When the child masters that swim in a near horizontal position, remove another buoyancy pad.  You may take out 2 or 3 pads in one class and zero for the next three classes, and then 1 pad the following class.  The bottom line is you want the progression to be natural and comfortable for the child, going at the child’s pace with just a little “push” from reducing the buoyancy which also incorporates a form of the progressive overload principle used in strength / weight training.
  • Eventually, at the child’s pace, you will have developed a swimmer, who is now skill ready to learn formal strokes, which leads me to your final question:


Does it keep the kids in a ‘streamline’ swimming position?

If you’re referring simply to a “horizontal position” or “in-line position” as I call it in the Swim Lessons University DVD’s and Lesson Plans, then yes–it certainly encourages and helps children achieve that position much sooner.  I think this is another great advantage of using the device.   Because without it, beginners almost always resort to poor kicking technique, which eliminates that body position, you’re striving for in your swimmers.

Lastly, please review my Youtube videos on floatation devices.  I have taken clips from the various Swim Lessons University DVD’s where we discuss this topic.

Thanks, Coach P.D., for your questions and hope I have helped you and many others in their pursuit of excellence in swimming instruction.

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University Online Swim Instructor Certification  and curriculum, make sure to visit us at

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

, , , , , , ,
December 5, 2010 at 8:32 pm Comments (0) publishes “Should Flotation Devices be used in Swim Lessons?”

I received an angry phone call from a parent (the parent was not at the swimming lesson): “My son is on a swim team and doesn’t need a life jacket. Why does he have to wear a life jacket during swimming lessons?”

Read my answer and insight on whether or not flotation devices should be used. View my entire new article just published on

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
December 28, 2009 at 5:21 pm Comments (0)